How a former skinhead came around to befriending his black parole officer.

The first racist tattoo Michael Kent got were the words "white pride," spanning the top of his back.

GIF via ABC News.

Then came the two swastikas — one in the center of his chest — that stained his skin for over 20 years, ABC News reported.


Kent used to be a white supremacist.

"I was part of a skinhead group," Kent, who lives in Colorado, told ABC. "A very violent group."

He believed strongly in the organization's ideals. For instance, Kent refused to work for anybody — or even with anybody — who wasn't white.

GIF via ABC News.

But one woman made him rethink everything.

Tiffany Whittier, who is black, became his parole officer. Meeting her changed his life for good.

GIF via ABC News.

She was a positive force in his life and challenged him to rethink how he viewed race and equality.

"I had a German war [Nazi] flag, and she said, 'You need to take that crap down and start putting up more positive stuff!'" Kent told ABC News. "'Put up smiley faces so when you wake up, you see positive instead of hate.'"

Her encouragement worked; Kent's outlook and attitudes have changed dramatically since befriending Whittier.

It's not necessarily surprising, either — this change in mindset goes hand-in-hand with research. A 2014 study, for example, found that when white people interact with more people of color, they're less likely to hold racist views.

"If it wasn't for her, I probably would have been seeped back into [white supremacy]," Kent explained. "I look at her as family."

Now, Kent's "white pride" and swastika tattoos have been removed by Redemption Ink, a nonprofit that offers free removals of hate-inspired designs to patrons. All of his coworkers at the Colorado chicken farm where he works — as well as most of his friends — are people of color.

“We have company parties, or they have quinceaneras, BBQs, or birthday parties — I’m the only white guy there," Kent said.

GIF via ABC News.

Whittier modestly brushed off the affect she's had on Kent: "My job is to be that positive person in someone's life," she said. "[I] try to make a difference."

But to Kent — a father to two young children — Whittier's nothing short of heroic. "She gave me the strength and the courage to do what I'm doing," he said. "She gave me a chance, and it opened my eyes."

ABC News facilitated a surprise reunion between the two, who hadn't seen each other in over a year.

Whittier was in on the plan, but Kent — who seemed a bit lost for words as he embraced her in a hug — was beyond excited to see the friend who changed his life forever.

Watch the beautiful moment in the video below:

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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